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The Proposed Benefits of Nutritional IV Therapy

These celebs and others who swear by IV therapy turn to it as a way to deliver nutrients to the body. Natalya Fazylova, a New York–based holistic health and wellness specialist at ReBalance NYC, has been administering IV treatments since 2014. She says that when we take vitamins orally, they travel to the stomach and intestines, but they don’t get absorbed entirely. With IV drips, on the other hand, Fazylova says the vitamins go directly to the bloodstream, leading to “better results.”

She says most IV sessions cost between $150 and $400 and take about 20 minutes to complete, though some of the more intensive ones can take up to three hours.

Does It Really Work?
Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in New York City, warns this isn’t the best way to get your nutrient fix. “If someone is looking to get nutrients or make the most out of what they can put into their body, if I have a choice, I always prefer using my mouth rather than my veins,” she says.

Current research also doesn’t support the purported benefits of IV therapy. One study examined the effect of two months of weekly infusions to treat fibromyalgia syndrome. The researchers found both those who received the IV treatment and those who received a placebo felt better over the course of the study, but there weren’t statistically significant differences between the two groups.

That study suggests there’s a placebo effect at work. After all, if you shell out $250 for a treatment, you may be more willing to believe you’re feeling better so you don’t feel like it was a waste of money.

The Risks Associated With IV Therapy
There are also a few risks to be aware of. For one, these clinics aren’t regulated, so there may be differences in quality and cleanliness from clinic to clinic. There’s also the possibility that you’ll be given vitamins and nutrients in too-high concentrations, which can be dangerous. Compared with oral vitamins, this can happen more easily with IV drips, as none of the vitamins are lost during the absorption process or excreted through urine.

Taking in too much vitamin C, for instance, can lead to stomach issues, including cramps and diarrhea, according to the Mayo Clinic. And a study published May 2012 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found taking in high doses of certain supplements may increase your risk for certain types of cancer. (Interestingly, on the flip side, high doses of vitamin C are also used as a treatment for certain types of cancer in complementary medicine, according to the National Cancer Institute.)

Fazylova says people with allergies should be careful and need to know all the ingredients before the IV is administered. She also advises people with heart conditions to be extra cautious because taking in too many extra electrolytes can lead to heart arrhythmias. (The Mayo Clinic points out similar evidence.)

Taub-Dix recommends making sure that whatever is in the IV solution won’t interact negatively with any medications you’re taking. “If you have medical conditions or are on other vitamin supplements or medications, then you really need to check with your healthcare provider to be sure you're not going to get anything that will interact with something you're already taking,” she says.

There’s also a risk of infection simply from having a needle inserted into your body. “Anytime you make a hole in your skin, you're leaving yourself open to infection,” Taub-Dix says.

A Final Word on IV Drips and What to Know Before Trying Them
“If it's a one-shot deal and that works for you, great, but I wouldn't have it be something you rely on,” Taub-Dix says. She says a better plan would be to adjust your diet or consider oral supplements that can help you feel better long term.

Risks and lack of evidence surrounding IV drips aside, Landis is still a fan. “I know that I felt one way the day before and another way the next day,” she says. “I trust myself to know how I feel and decide for myself whether or not something works. I know for myself and I have spoken to many others, and I know that this works.”

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